Mysteries and initiations prior to Christianity

Mysteries and initiations were present in every ancient religion which passed down the content as sacred Knowledge. Each cult was the repository of doctrines and mysteries, myths and sacred ceremonies, of which only brief formulas and inscriptions, signs, simulacra, statues, and remains of shrines have come down to us. Nothing remains of the papyri containing the secrets of their mysteries, and of the doctrines, we find only fragments or allusions reported by the works of other writers.

The essence of the Pythagorean mysteries, the pure conceptions of Plato, the thought of the Aristotelian school. The religious Mysteries and Wisdom Initiations of other peoples made it possible to outline the genesis of Gnosis prior to Christianity. What has come to us of knowledge about the cults that dominated in the East, especially in India and Egypt, rests mainly on what Greek and Latin writers have handed down.

Something of what was the Egyptian religion and the Babylonian and Persian mysteries can be drawn from Herodotus. The teachings handed down by Pythagoras have a remote Tradition, in which it is impossible to distinguish the origins of the primitive layers.

With Alexander the Great, the sense of religious conscience intensified for the Greek cultural classes, vast horizons of knowledge opened up in them and they were enlightened on the Mysteries of Zoroaster and on the science of the Magi. They learned the wisdom of the One, the art of predicting the future.

The library of Alexandria was enriched with ancient and precious documents, the manuscripts of Homer, Hesiod, Plato, Aristotle, and many other treasures flowed there. The Orientals, custodians of very ancient doctrines and myths, in turn, portrayed for the Greeks, in a language accessible to them, copies of their sacred books, scrolls, and papyri.

Berossus composed for their works on Babylonian doctrines, mysteries, and myths. Manetus composed another work on religion and the Egyptian mysteries of Gold, Isis, and Osiris. This Eastern wisdom greatly influenced the development of the sacred cult of Greek mysteries.

It is difficult to trace the various lines of the Traditions of the Mysteries, as these were kept with the greatest secrecy.
The idea was innate that religion should contain something so highly virtual as to confer power and knowledge.

They considered it a duty to know secrets and mysteries, into which it was possible to penetrate to be initiated. That there was a gradual process of development both in the Mysteries and in the Knowledge and that finally there was a science of the soul and a knowledge of higher and invisible things.

This Idea expanded and expanded considerably, developed even more highly with the fusion of what the Greeks learned about the cult of the Eastern Mysteries. Slowly and gradually the wisdom of the Egyptians, the Babylonians, and the Chaldeans reacted on the center of Greek thought. And Religion, with all its high and profound problems of the soul, prevailed.

He, therefore, began to expel mere scholasticism from schools to apply and devote himself exclusively to the inner nature of the Mysteries. Various and different schools arose, born from this search for the Mystery and from the aspiration and thirst for knowledge.

It is therefore evident that the origin of Gnosis, as Divine Wisdom, has very ancient foundations, and has always existed as an aspiration in the depth of being.

Religion with its Mysteries has always exerted its influence on people.

It has always been a fundamental and essential part of it, a rule of life. Whether the cult was conceived as a unique, exclusive Deity, with unlimited and infinite power. Whether worship, power, divine attributes are assigned to a plurality of Divine powers.

It should also be noted that for the Babylonians and Chaldeans, in addition to Divine worship, the Elements of Nature, Air, Water, Fire, Earth were considered sacred and honored with worship practices. As the Celestial Vault and the cult of the Stars had a prominent place, indeed, the power and influence of these were intimately connected to all human events.

This belief in the influences of astral powers, held in Babylon and Chaldea, greatly influenced other religions. It should also be noted that the wise interpretation of this science considered sacred was the task of the Priestly Caste. We owe to them the first subdivision of time, based on the study done on the movements of the Planets. Thus was born the Astronomy, Astrology, Calendar, the first fruit of the Babylonian Chaldean Wisdom.

Every Religion and every Tradition has possessed the Initiation into the Mysteries, it has therefore been the custodian of Gnosis as Divine Wisdom, the search for this and reaching it are natural and innate tendencies to the soul. And the Name attributed to the Divinity, in the different Religions, has an identical Principle of comparison. Fatherhood as the Supreme Being.